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Website owner-manager arrested for articles criticising government

(ANHRI/IFEX) - ANHRI condemns the arrest of lawyer Abdalla Suliman by the Syrian security apparatus on 30 July 2008. He is the owner and manager of two websites, Al Nazaha (Integrity, http://www.alnazaha.org ), and Akhbar Al Nazaha (Integrity News, http://www.alnazahanews.com ), and was arrested because of his "persistence . . . in publishing legal and political articles, in some of which he criticised the Syrian government's performance."

As manager of Al Nazaha website, Suliman filed the first lawsuit of its kind against the Syrian Ministry of Telecommunication, demanding disclosure of the reasons for blocking and unblocking the website in November 2007. Suliman continued with the proceedings despite the threats he received, as well as the hacking and destruction of the website, until the ministry admitted that the ban was based on "orders and instructions" of the Syrian intelligence apparatuses.

When Suliman realised that the case would not move forward, he established an alternative website, www.alnazahanews.com, which resulted in Suliman being arrested again by the Syrian security agencies, which forced him to close the website down.

"Banning the two sites and arresting their manager shows a lack of respect for the law in Syria, clearly exposes the shameful situation of the law and clearly demonstrates the fate of freedom of expression in this state," said Gamal Eid, ANHRI's executive director.

ANHRI has taken the initiative to offer all of its capacity to aid Suliman and all other Syrian activists - whether by providing alternative websites, blogs or technical aid - so as to contribute humbly to the elimination of the policy of blocking websites and terrorizing activists in Syria, and to support freedom of expression and Internet freedom there.

Updates the Al Nazaha website and Suliman (Sulaiman Abdullah) case: http://www.ifex.org/en/content/view/full/88701

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